A photograph from Charles Garfield’s (inset) photo album demonstrates Burton Avenue in the early 1900s, wanting east from the entrance of Burton Farm
(at Jefferson Avenue). Courtesy Grand Rapids General public Library

The Burton Heights region appeared a large amount diverse 120 decades back, with acres of farmland and grime roadways. Charles Garfield and his wife Jessie lived on the Burton Farm, situated south of Burton and Jefferson. Charles was a nationally recognised horticulturist and conservationist and, more simply just, a lover of trees. The Garfields, along with Charles’ cousin, Julia Fletcher, donated the preliminary 25 acres for Garfield Park in 1906.

Charles Garfield Courtesy Grand Rapids Public Library

Southwest of the park is a wooded region with a walking trail, regarded as Garfield Nature Heart or Burton Woods. In those people woods, Charles planted seeds for 10 unique types of indigenous trees. He gave the 6-acre woods to the Grand Rapids Parks and Boulevard Association in 1914 and it was afterwards deeded to the city in 1921. Charles’ intent was for the land to keep on being a forest preserve, but in the 1960s the metropolis commission proposed producing the place and promoting it for housing. Neighbors organized a Preserve Burton Woods marketing campaign and certain the metropolis to flip the woods into a mother nature center. The campaign was portion of community organizing that led to the formation of the Garfield Park Neighborhoods Association in 1973, and the Garfield Character Heart stays accessible to get pleasure from right now.

This tale can be observed in the May 2021 problem of Grand Rapids Journal. To get additional stories like this shipped to your mailbox every single thirty day period, subscribe below. 

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Julie Tabberer is head of Grand Rapids heritage and specific collections at the Grand Rapids General public Library.